Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

You can place a hold on a print copy or an eBook copy or an eAudiobook copy of this book!

War can be a powerful motivator for bringing its inhabitants closer together or dividing them farther apart. In this breathtaking novel, the latter occurs, and Japanese residents within a certain area of Pearl Harbor are forced to leave their homes behind in a flurry of crushed hopes and dreams. However, they all reunite again in the camps and remain steadfast in the face of uncertainty. From naive to suspicious and timid to brave, children all around the various different factions band together while simultaneously being asked to make tough decisions a child isn’t capable of answering. The gang is forced to embark on a life-changing journey that enlightens them about the cruel truth of the world and how sometimes, their right is your wrong and vice versa.

This book was so engaging for many reasons, and it was a shock for me that a book detailing the events of a different time period altogether could be so captivating. One interesting aspect of the novel was how each character was mentioned only once, in a chapter dedicated just for them; it made the novel feel original and unforgettable. I also enjoyed the modern words that the writer used, although the events in the novel occurred during World War 2. However, one chapter in the book that had just poems was a little confusing and hard to take in. I especially enjoyed the humor and relatable moments throughout the rage periods of certain characters.

One memorable thing would definitely be the interaction between Japanese characters and American characters. I felt as though I was literally there, feeling the tension and animosity in the air while reading those sections of the novel. It made the novel seem authentic and lively.

Reviewed by Arnav, Glen Allen Branch Library

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